Gemstones have been fascinating for humanity for centuries with their unmatched beauty. Among the most enchanting gemstones, there are sapphires and rubies. They both belong to the corundum family. These precious stones, renowned for their stunning colors and durability, are formed as hexagonal crystals shapes. In this article, we will explain the world of raw sapphire and ruby crystals, while examining their chemical formulas, geological occurrences, and unique characteristics that make them true treasures.
Chemical Formulas of Corundum Mineral
Sapphires and rubies are both varieties of the mineral corundum, which is composed of aluminum oxide (Al2O3).The trace amounts of iron and titanium impurities create blue color in the sapphires. Whereas the vibrant red hues of rubies are the result of chromium impurities.
Geological Occurrences of Corundum As a Mineral
The geological occurrences of sapphires and rubies vary across the globe. Sapphires are found in the multiple locations such as
- Myanmar (Burma),
- Sri Lanka,
- Madagascar, and
- Montana (USA).
Each region produces sapphires with unique characteristics. For example, Burmese sapphires are famous for their intense blue color, while Sri Lankan sapphires display a wide range of colors, including vibrant yellows and Padparacha delicate pinks.
Rubies, on the other hand, are rarer than sapphires and are predominantly found in Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Sri Lanka. The renowned "Mogok Valley" in Myanmar is legendary for its exceptional rubies, characterised by their deep red hues and exceptional clarity. Thailand's Chanthaburi province and Sri Lanka's Ratnapura district are also renowned for their ruby deposits.
Hexagonal Crystal Structure of Sapphires and Rubies
Both sapphires and rubies are crystallized in the hexagonal crystal system. Which imparts their characteristic shape. Corundum often grows as six-sided prismatic crystals with flat or pyramidal terminations. The crystal structure contributes to their durability. After cutting or in raw form, it gives add value to the jewelry. Within this hexagonal structure, the atoms of aluminum and oxygen are tightly arranged, forming a lattice that gives the gemstone its strength and stability.
Unique Characteristics of Corundum
Sapphires and rubies possess various unique characteristics distinguishing them from other popular gemstones. Besides their unique colors, they are exceptionally hard. They are ranking 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardnes which is second only to diamonds. This hardness ensures their durability and resilience against scratching. This unique characteristic is making them ideal for jewelry that withstands everyday wear.
Another alluring feature of these gemstones is their pleochroism. Pleochroism refers to the ability of a crystal to exhibit different colors when viewed from different angles. Sapphires and rubies can display varying shades of blue and red, respectively, depending on the direction from which they are observed.
Metaphysical Aspects of Sapphires and Rubies
In addition to their aesthetic appeal, sapphires and rubies have long been associated with symbolism and legends. Sapphires are often linked to wisdom, loyalty, and nobility, while rubies are associated with passion, love, and vitality. These gemstones have adorned the crowns of monarchs and inspired countless tales throughout history.
Sapphires and Rubies whether to set as raw crystals or in cut form, they increase value to the jewelry. They are among top precious stones such emeralds, diamonds. Usually sapphire and Rubis are set in jewelry along with diamonds.